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Review Article

Old Age, Gender and Constructions of the Contemporary

orcid-imageSiân Adiseshiahemail-imageSiân Adiseshiah

Siân Adiseshiah is Professor of Literature, Politics and Performance at Loughborough University. Her research interests are in contemporary theatre, utopianism and age studies. Her most recent books include a monograph Utopian Drama: In Search of a Genre (Methuen Drama, 2022) and a co-edited volume (with Jacqueline Bolton) debbie tucker green: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave, 2020). She is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal C21 Literature and Editor of the Liverpool University Press series ‘Playwriting and the Contemporary: Critical Collaborations’.

email-image S.Adiseshiah@lboro.ac.uk

Abstract

This article argues that older people – by virtue (at least in part) of their association with the past – lack visibility in dominant conceptions of the contemporary. With its (neo-) modernist emphasis on the innovative new, ‘the contemporary’ – as a descriptor of the present – aligns, prejudicially, with youth. The contemporary as category or concept is frequently discussed in metaphorical terms that align it with early phases of the life course. Within this frame older women are particularly troublesome to the discourse of the contemporary, wherein they represent a blockage in the flow of futurity. After offering a theorisation of the ways in which contemporary operates in these terms, the article concludes by considering two texts – a film, Michael Haneke’s Amour (2012), and a play, debbie tucker green’s generations (2005) – both of which craft encounters with narratives of old age and gender, and are commonly regarded as ‘contemporary’ according to the terms outlined.

Keywords

old ageageingcontemporarygenderMichael Haneke’s Amourdebbie tucker green’s generations
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Published on: 10 August 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: Supplementary issue 2
Article ID: 033
Pages:33 - 54
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© The author(s) 2023.
Cite this article
Adiseshiah (2023), ' Old Age, Gender and Constructions of the Contemporary ', Journal of the British Academy, 11(Supplementary issue 2): 033 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s2.033

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Old Age, Gender and Constructions of the Contemporary

orcid-imageSiân Adiseshiahemail-imageSiân Adiseshiah

Siân Adiseshiah is Professor of Literature, Politics and Performance at Loughborough University. Her research interests are in contemporary theatre, utopianism and age studies. Her most recent books include a monograph Utopian Drama: In Search of a Genre (Methuen Drama, 2022) and a co-edited volume (with Jacqueline Bolton) debbie tucker green: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave, 2020). She is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal C21 Literature and Editor of the Liverpool University Press series ‘Playwriting and the Contemporary: Critical Collaborations’.

email-image S.Adiseshiah@lboro.ac.uk